A level two emergency was declared at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday morning, as a Greek plane made an emergency landing at the airport. Dozens of rescue workers, vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances gathered on the tarmac near the where the plane successfully landed.
The plane had 170 passengers aboard, Ben Gurion officials said, and belonged to HRM, a carrier that does not fly to Israel. The plane was apparently on its way to Amman when it sustained major damage to its hydraulic system. The pilot radioed Ben Gurion Airport while still outside Israel's territorial waters, and IDF planes were scrambled to accompany it into Israeli airspace.
Meanwhile, an emergency situation was declared at Ben Gurion, after the pilot radioed that he had a “Mayday” situation - the highest level of distress for pilots - on his hands.
Shortly after noon, the plane successfully landed, after being guided by Ben Gurion tower control workers. The passengers were led off the plane and taken to a special area in Terminal One, where they will be processed. It is not yet clear how they will get to their final destination. Israeli officials said they were in contact with the Greek carrier.
The distress call was broadcast live on Israel Radio Thursday morning. Correspondent Mickey Gordis, a veteran broadcaster who was monitoring the situation, said “I have been doing this for many years and this is the first time I heard the word 'Mayday' in a situation like this.”